Introduction and Testbed Setup

The emergence of the digital economy has brought to fore the importance of safeguarding electronic data. The 3-2-1 data backup strategy involves keeping three copies of all essential data, spread over at least two different devices with at least one of them being off-site or disaster-resistant in some way. It is almost impossible to keep copies of large frequently updated data sets current in an off-site data backup strategy. This is where companies like ioSafe come in with their lineup of fire- and waterproof storage devices. We have already reviewed the ioSafe SoloPRO (an external hard drive in a disaster-resistant housing) as well as the ioSafe N2 (a 2-bay Marvell-based NAS with similar disaster protection).

External hard drives are good enough for daily backups, but entirely unsuitable for large and frequently updated data. The latter scenario calls for a network attached storage unit which provides high availability over the local network. The SoloPRO's chassis and hard drive integration strategy made it impossible for end users to replace the hard disk while also retaining the disaster-resistance characteristics. A disaster-resistant RAID-1 NAS with hot-swap capability was needed and the ioSafe N2 / 214 was launched to address these issues. However, with growing data storage requirements amongst SMBs and enterprise users, ioSafe found a market need for disaster resistant NAS units that supported expansion capabilities in addition to large number of drive bays. The ioSafe 1513+ serves to fulfill those requirements.

ioSafe partnered with Synology for the N2 NAS (which was later rebranded as the ioSafe 214). The partnership continues for the ioSafe 1513+, a disaster-resistant version of the Synology 1513+. The main unit has five bays, but, up to two ioSafe N513X expansion chassis can be connected to make 15 bays available in total for the user. Obviously, the N513X chassis is also disaster-resistant. We got our initial look at the ioSafe 1513+ at CES earlier this year. As a recap, the specifications of the unit are provided in the table below.

ioSafe 1513+ Specifications
Processor Intel Atom D2701 (2C/4T @ 2.13 GHz)
RAM 2 GB DDR3 RAM
Drive Bays

5x 3.5"/2.5" SATA 6 Gbps HDD / SSD (Hot-Swappable)
(Review unit populated with 5x Toshiba MG03ACA200 2 TB enterprise drives)

Network Links 4x 1 GbE
External I/O Peripherals 4x USB 2.0, 2x USB 3.0, 2x eSATA
Expansion Slots None
VGA / Display Out None
Full Specifications Link ioSafe 1513+ Specifications
Price

$1600 (Diskless)
$3860 (as configured)

The ioSafe 1513+ review unit came in a 70 lb. package. Apart from the main unit (which has the PSU in-built), we had an Allen key and a magnetic holder for the same, a U.S power cord and a single 6 ft. network cable.

Interesting aspects to note are the hot-swappable fans, the rubber gasket around the waterproofing door for the drive chamber and the faceplate on the underside that allows for addition of a SO-DIMM module to augment the DRAM in the unit. The drive caddies also have holes for mounting 2.5" drives, a minor complaint that we had in the ioSafe N2 review. The fanless motherboard is mounted at the base of the unit in a separate compartment under the fire-/waterproof chamber for the drives.

Testbed Setup and Testing Methodology

The ioSafe 1513+ can take up to five drives. Users can opt for either JBOD, RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 6 or RAID 10 configurations. We benchmarked the unit in RAID 5 with five Western Digital WD4000FYYZ RE drives as the test disks. Even though our review unit came with five Toshiba MG03ACA200 2 TB enterprise drives, we opted to benchmark with the WD Re drives to keep the numbers consistent when comparing against NAS units that have been evaluated before. The four ports of the ioSafe 1513+ were link aggregated in 802.3ad LACP to create a 4 Gbps link. The jumbo frames setting, however, was left at the default 1500 bytes. Our testbed configuration is outlined below.

AnandTech NAS Testbed Configuration
Motherboard Asus Z9PE-D8 WS Dual LGA2011 SSI-EEB
CPU 2 x Intel Xeon E5-2630L
Coolers 2 x Dynatron R17
Memory G.Skill RipjawsZ F3-12800CL10Q2-64GBZL (8x8GB) CAS 10-10-10-30
OS Drive OCZ Technology Vertex 4 128GB
Secondary Drive OCZ Technology Vertex 4 128GB
Tertiary Drive OCZ Z-Drive R4 CM88 (1.6TB PCIe SSD)
Other Drives 12 x OCZ Technology Vertex 4 64GB (Offline in the Host OS)
Network Cards 6 x Intel ESA I-340 Quad-GbE Port Network Adapter
Chassis SilverStoneTek Raven RV03
PSU SilverStoneTek Strider Plus Gold Evolution 850W
OS Windows Server 2008 R2
Network Switch Netgear ProSafe GSM7352S-200

Thank You!

We thank the following companies for helping us out with our NAS testbed:

Chassis Design and Hardware Platform
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  • ddriver - Saturday, August 16, 2014 - link

    Thanks for the input. BTW, where I come from, "cellar" does not imply "basement" - our cellars are usually on floor levels, tiny room, around 1 m^2 for general storage purposes, no water mains no nothing. Closer to what you may call "pantry" in the US. Cultural differences... me'h. Nothing to burn and nothing to flood in there. Plus noise in the cellar bothers nobody.

    Never failed a demo - which exactly proves the point I make earlier about being careful with controlled fires. That would create the illusion your products are flawless and someone's gonna buy one expecting it to survive his fancy wooden and lacquer soaked cottage burning to the ground which I am willing to bet it will not. You should really draw the line between "office fire accidents" and "fire disasters" just for the sake of being more realistic and not deceiving consumers, deliberately or not. People are impressed by big numbers, and could easily be impressed by the 1700 F number, absent the realization most flammable materials burn at significantly higher temperatures. Every engineer knows - there is no such thing as a flawless product, the fact you never had a failed demo only goes to show you never really pushed your products. With those zero failed demos you will very easily give consumers the wrong idea and unrealistic expectations, especially ones who are not educated on the subject. You SHOULD fail a few demos, because it will be beneficial for people to know what your products CAN'T HANDLE. A few failures in extreme cases will not degrade consumer trust as your PR folks might be prone to believing, it will actually make you look more honest and therefore more trustworthy.
    Reply
  • ddriver - Saturday, August 16, 2014 - link

    I mean better you cross that line with a test unit than some outraged consumer going viral over the internet how your product failed and he lost his life work ;) Reply
  • robb.moore - Monday, August 18, 2014 - link

    Hi ddriver-
    As mentioned, our fireproof tech relies on proven methods that are over 100 years old. Appreciate the heated skepticism though. As an engineer myself, I agree that no product is flawless and everything (including our own products) have their limits. I take back the "never failed a demo" comment. We did some gun demos with shotguns (passed) - got a bunch of flack for ONLY using shotguns so we redid the demo with fully auto AR-15's - blew holes completely through the product and of course failed...sometimes. Fun demo though.
    -Robb
    Reply
  • Phil Stephen - Monday, August 18, 2014 - link

    ddriver: I'm a firefighter and can confirm that, based on the specs, these units would indeed withstand a typical structure fire. Reply
  • zlobster - Sunday, August 17, 2014 - link

    Dear Mr. Moore,

    I'm really glad that you actually follow up with the public opinion.

    I'll try to use the opportunity and use it to ask you whether you are planning to build a unit with non-Intel CPU, rather with AMD/ARM/Marvell/etc.? A unit that can handle the latest industry standards for on-the-fly encryption without sacrificing the performance even a bit?

    Also, besides the physical integrity and resiliency tests that you are conducting, do you do similar penetration-testing for data integrity? I mean, with well-known independent hacker/pen-testing communities? With all the fuzz around govt. agencies putting backdoors virtually everywhere, it's of extreme importance for the piece of mind of extreme paranoics (like me), to know how hack-proof your devices are.

    Regards,
    Zlob
    Reply
  • robb.moore - Monday, August 18, 2014 - link

    Hi Zlop-
    We're constantly working on new products. The 1513+ does use an Intel chip but our other NAS (2 bay), ioSafe 214 uses a Marvell chip. We realize that encryption can be important in many situations and we're always interested in balancing features, cost and speed for our products. Can't make direct comments though on what we have in the pipeline except stay tuned! :)

    In regards to "hack-proof", the most "hack-proof" systems (aka CIA, etc.) don't exist on the internet at all. They're fully contained offline in secured facilities. In fact, ioSafe systems are used in situations like this where offsite backup (online or physical relocation) is not allowed or impractical but the end user still wants a disaster plan.

    Obviously, there's a balance between security, accessibility, cost and speed. If you put an ioSafe system online, no firewall, never update OS/firmware, all ports open with standard admin passwords - expect mayhem. If you put an ioSafe system in a bank vault, offline and turned off it's obviously pretty secure but inaccessible - not very useful. Security can be complicated. Striking the right balance is different for every situation. Our NAS systems are based on the Synology platform which in turn is a custom Linux kernel so it's as safe as you make it generally (like all connected systems) and is susceptible to hackers if setup incorrectly. We're very happy to help you with configuring your device if you have any questions at all about the tradeoffs.

    Ultimately though its under your control. You're in charge of opening or closing doors.

    Robb Moore, CEO
    ioSafe Inc.
    Reply
  • PEJUman - Saturday, August 16, 2014 - link

    I second that, for this price... I really want to know it it would last the rated time under fire. Should try it under propane {bbq tank 2300+ C} and and Nat. Gas/wood based flame {1900+ C} To simulate household/industry gas line. Reply
  • bsd228 - Thursday, August 14, 2014 - link

    Well for the $1000 extra, one could buy a 30"x72" inch gun safe that can also be used to store the regular Synology (or a DIY NAS) plus guns, camera gear, and any other valuables. Harder to steal as well- they weight 500-1000lbs. Reply
  • DanNeely - Thursday, August 14, 2014 - link

    Maybe; but good luck using the NAS with the door shut... Reply
  • smorebuds - Thursday, August 14, 2014 - link

    l0l Reply

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